Land acknowledgment is a traditional tribal custom that dates back centuries, wherein tribal nations would acknowledge territories and ask for “permission” to enter into another nation’s territory. Today, land acknowledgments are used by Native Peoples and non-Natives, alike, to recognize the Indigenous Peoples who are the original stewards of the land.
The Lummi People are the original inhabitants of Washington’s northernmost coast and area that is now southern British Columbia. They lived in villages throughout this territory and continue to have an ongoing relationship with these areas and their ancestral homelands. Since Time Immemorial, they have celebrated life on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands and waterways of their People and perpetuate their traditional ways of life – their schelangen.
A land acknowledgement honors the tribal ancestors and recognizes and acknowledges our relationship to each other – Native and non-Native – and recognizes that their ancestral lands are now shared, but, also, that we have an agreement to be a peace with one another and live in the spirit of generosity and gratitude.
Lummi Indian Business Council adopts Resolution for Land Acknowledgement Statement for our Lhaq’temish People
On behalf of the Lummi Nation, the Lummi Indian Business Council Resolution #2021-060 ADOPTING A ‘LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT’ STATEMENT FOR OUR LH’AQTEMISH PEOPLE, derived from our worldview or cultural lens to become a written template to be utilized by a) school districts, b) government agencies, c) townships, d) organizations, and e) any other party(ies).
A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that outside communities use as a tool that recognizes and respects our past, present, and future Lh’aqTeMish People as traditional stewards of this land and the continuing relationship that exists between the Xwlemi (Lummi) and Sq ‘elqx ‘en decendants both a part of the Lh’aqTeMish who inhabited their respective traditional territories from time immemorial.
The Land Acknowledgement statement is an important communications tool. The statement can facilitate and foster better relationships between our communities. A huge step for most and lesser for others. Regardless, it is designed to provide a pathway of communication to build and achieve a good-standing relationship and become successful at being good neighbors.
The adoption to establish not only an ‘acknowledgment’ statement but a standing policy within our tribal government and its administration of a final Land Acknowledgement to be adopted by the Lummi Nation, explicitly:
“We, the (Insert name of School, government agency, etc., e.g. Ferndale School District), acknowledge we are residing on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Lummi People. The Lummi People are the original inhabitants of Washington’s northernmost coast and southern British Columbia. They lived in villages throughout this territory and continue to have an ongoing relationship with these areas. Since Time Immemorial they have celebrated life on their land, water ways and on the traditional, ancestral and unceded lands of their People to perpetuate their way of life. Please join us in taking a moment of silence as we honor their ancestors and as we acknowledge the past, present and future Lummi People as the original inhabitants of this land.”
The Lummi Indian Business Council wishes to establish a governmental framework to address our Xwlemi T’enexw-s or Lummis Traditional Territory being addressed within a traditional sense of land and our spirit of stewardship. A territory or land acknowledgment is a statement that recognizes the traditional landscape, waterscape, earth or ground, and airscapes of our Lh’aqTeMish peoples who have lived in a particular place since time immemorial
In order to advance our `worldview’ and add value to the culturally significant practice regarding ‘relational’ and what it means for us to connect to our land, water, earth, air which our Lh’aqtemish ancestors have always understood and practiced since time immemorial. Such an understanding has given us our cultural identity and our “L’aolh” or well-being and health. Therefore, we see the need to facilitate a statement that is important to our past, present and future tribal members, in a good way and manner.
Our Ch’osen (any Lh’aqtemish languages), our Schelangen (Our Way of Life), culture and oral-based and tribal traditions of our sovereign Nations involve all aspects of our lives. Inherent in the language are a connection, perspective and insight that teach us how to act and interact within our world. The protocol of our traditional cultures provides an understanding of our past, who we are as a people today, and who we are to be in the future. Our languages and cultures cover all aspects of our lives and strengthen our destiny.
Our Lh’aqTeMish People or tribal groups are the spiritual caretakers of water and land based cultures. The saltwater, rivers, lakes and the land have spoken to our traditions, values, and our place since time immemorial. Our languages and cultures bring us closer to these places. Our languages and cultural values go hand in hand; they define one another and who we are as a people. We are connected to this land and waterways by generations of our ancestors who have gone before us.
Our Lh’aqTeMish ancestors became resilient by standing straight and strong through federally mandated attempts to assimilate our people: the Dawes Act/Allotment Act, the boarding school era, the termination act and relocation era. Through our ancestors’ strength powerful laws were created: the Indian Self-Determination Act, the Native American Languages Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Boldt Decision, the Honoring our Ancestors Act and many more. Our Lli’aq TeMish elders stood for our land, waterways, language, culture and history.
As Lh’aqTemish strong, as a collective people we see it is our responsibility to pass on our ancestor’s knowledge and wisdom to our future generations by educating our children utilizing our own Tribal languages, histories, cultures, values and traditions.
That both the terms of “land” and “territory” are not necessarily interchangeable and use within a context that shall depend on where you are as well as to which Lh’aqTeMish Tribe or Group which is being acknowledged among the original 44 tribal groups or tribes.
Adopted by LIBC on June 15, 2021